In this lesson, students read about the Ancient Greek City-States of Athens and Sparta.
For each city-state, students are given a 1 and a half page article that discusses: 1. Culture 2. Government 3. Role of Women
More specifically, the articles describe: 1. why Sparta was devoted to creating a strong military and the standard life and responsibilities of a Spartan male 2. How Sparta's government worked and the role of the 5 ephors 3. The lives of Spartan Women and how they enjoyed more freedom than other Greek women. 4. Athens' achievements in art, philosophy, and theater. 5. How Athenian government operated. The powers and members of the Council of 500 and the Assembly. And how these led to the creation of democracy. 6. The lives of Athenian Women and how Ancient Greeks believed women should be protected.
After having students read the 2 articles, the teacher can do one of 3 options for the activity:
1. Have students group up and determine which city-state they believe is superior. Students must prepare presentation to give to class where they explain their decision using arguments from all 3 categories. Give students butcher paper to visually illustrate their main arguments for their presentation.
2. Conduct a session of "philosophical chairs." Desks are arranged in 2 lines facing one another to represent each city-state. Students sit on the side they believe is the best city-state. Students take turns to debate why their side is superior. I like to mandate a minimum of 2-3 comments from each students when I grade their performance. Students are able to switch sides if the other team's arguments make them change their mind.
3. Instead of group presentations or a debate, I have included questions at the end of each article. A teacher can assign the article and the questions as a regular reading assignment for homework or to be done in class.
For Texas teachers, this lesson addresses the following TEKs:
WH3 History. The student understands the contributions and influence of classical civilizations from 500 BC to AD 600 on subsequent civilizations. The student is expected to: (A) describe the major political, religious/philosophical, and cultural influences of Persia, India, China, Israel, Greece, and Rome, including the development of monotheism, Judaism, and Christianity
WH25 Culture. The student understands how the development of ideas has influenced institutions and societies. The student is expected to: (B) summarize the fundamental ideas and institutions of Western civilizations that originated in Greece and Rome
WH21 Citizenship. The student understands the significance of political choices and decisions made by individuals, groups, and nations throughout history. The student is expected to: (B) describe the rights and responsibilities of citizens and noncitizens in civic participation throughout history
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